In the world of jewelry, few metals have as much cultural and historical significance as ruthenium. This metal is a member of the platinum group and its properties make it a very valuable commodity in an industry where quality matters.
Ruthenium is a very durable, scratch-resistant, and strong metal that’s perfect for adding some unique finishes to silver jewelry.
Ruthenium is a rare and valuable metal that is commonly used in the making of jewelry, electrical connections, and solar cells.
In this post, we will take you through interesting facts about ruthenium jewelry to help you understand why it’s so special.
In 1844, Karl Ernst Klaus discovered it in a mineral he called “Ruthenia”. The metal was named after Ruthenia, the Latin word for Rus’, land of the Russians. In 2010, ruthenium had an average price of $50 per troy ounce.
Ruthenium has a face-centered cubic crystal structure and is hard and ductile when found as single crystals or grains but can be brittle if present with other metals such as platinum group elements (pgms) due to self-forming lamellar intergrowths that may cause cleavage defects on twinning surfaces during alloying processes which should not exceed its critical temperature range under any conditions.
Sources of Ruthenium
The face-centered cubic crystal structure of ruthenium is shown in the image below. When it’s as single crystals or grains, it’s both hard and ductile.
It’s quite soft, but it can be brittle if accompanied by other metals such as platinum group elements (pgms).
The high liquidus temperature prevents the development of self-forming lamellar intergrowths, which can cause cleavage flaws on twinning surfaces during alloying procedures.
To be used in a commercial setting, it must be produced using a sophisticated chemical procedure.
The final step is the reduction of ammonium ruthenium chloride to a powder, which is achieved by hydrogen. The mixture is then compacted.
Uses of Ruthenium
One of the most efficient methods to harden platinum and palladium is adding ruthenium. It’s mixed with these metals to create electrical conductors that are highly resistant to wear.
At 10.6 K (-440.6 F / -262.5 C), a ruthenium-molybdenum alloy is said to be superconductive. Adding 0.1 percent ruthenium to titanium boosts its corrosion resistance by a hundredfold.
H2S is a highly corrosive gas that causes steel to corrode when it comes into contact with water. When that happens, the steel must be removed for the process to continue.
Platinum with just five percent ruthenium is considerably more difficult than platinum alone.
In fact, it is the most difficult of all platinum alloys! Because putting a gemstone in it is so difficult, this alloy is only suggested for diamond settings by jewelers.
The amount of force used may damage other stones. What kind of setting is this? It has a darker tone than traditional platinum settings, to say the least.
It’s also more difficult to harm the jewelry because it doesn’t scratch or bend readily.
Palladium and ruthenium are used in the alloy of some jewelry. This alloy is frequently utilized to make jewelry that appears like platinum without having a hefty cost.
Palladium alloys are less expensive than platinum or gold because palladium is a cheaper metal. Because it is highly scratch-resistant, the ruthenium alloy of palladium is very beautiful.
Features of Ruthenium Jewelry
The color range for Ruthenium jewelry includes various shades from silvery white all the way through black, which can be used with plating or even without any coating at all on occasion allowing you to see its natural beauty beneath the sunlight.
Ruthenium is quite durable, as it maintains its shine and luster for a long time. It is very difficult to create scratches on ruthenium.
Thus, making it perfect jewelry material. Ruthenium has similar characteristics to silver, but without the risk of tarnishing or corrosion after a while.
The downside with this metal is that it can change color under certain conditions. For example, if you have been wearing your ruthenium ring in hot water baths over an extended period, the metal may turn yellowish-brown after some months.
This may be due to sulfur vapors from polluted air getting into contact with moisture from your skin sweat.
That’s because it reacts together resulting in dark stains on your piece of jewelry. If there are chemicals present in the water, this can also affect your ring.
Is Ruthenium-Plated Jewelry Toxic?
Ruthenium is a metal that has very low toxicity and usually does not cause any negative effects when it comes to wearing jewelry. Therefore, ruthenium plating on jewelry is generally harmless.
Ruthenium-plated items are usually hypoallergenic as well. But it’s important to note that they may cause a reaction in those who have nickel allergies or sensitivities.
In this case, you should not wear a ruthenium plate. Mainly because the alloy would contain some nickel and your skin will most likely react badly to it.
Does Ruthenium Plating Wear Off?
Ruthenium does not require cleaning and is not reactive. The black ruthenium plating is a more durable plating than the oxidization that is common.
The plating will wear away with time, which is considered typical wear and tear rather than a drawback.
Ruthenium plating is used to maintain the metal’s color and prevent it from oxidizing, as well as making it more durable and preserving it from scratches.
A ruthenium-plated finish has a look that is similar to black nickel plating but with a far more durable finish.
It has a distinctive dark hue that may be changed from light gray through gray-black.
It’s also the most difficult of all platinum group metals, with an almost indestructible and chemically stable shine.
Trends in fashion tend to go around. Jewelry is becoming increasingly darker. And women are becoming more accustomed to wearing jewelry that complements their wardrobe. While also blending in with their black nail art, lipstick, and hairstyle.
Ruthenium is a versatile metal that has many uses. It can be found in jewelry, electronics, and more. Although it may not be as large of an industry currently, ruthenium still remains important.